First Listen: RIIB – Hello Stranger
- Hello Stranger RIIB 4:24
RIIB is the new project of Leeds based singer-songwriter James Mainwaring who is previously known for his saxophone playing in the Mercury Prize and MOBO nominated Roller Trio and as a guest with indie rock band Django Django
After a busy touring period, James picked up a guitar he hadn’t played since high school and rediscovered his passion for songwriting, thinking only himself and his bedroom walls would hear it. It was only when his housemate heard Hello Stranger through the walls and urged James to share his music that he invited people round to his house to hear a set. Local promoter and singer-songwriter Hayley Gaftarnik was one of those who attended, immediately booking him to perform some acoustic gigs.
James spent the next year on the road with Django Django playing saxophone and guitar, but continued to write on the back of the tour bus, at festivals, hotels and dressing rooms all around the UK, Europe, and Moscow, whilst gaining experience performing to large audiences and learning how larger bands develop their shows.
Inspired by his touring experience, James returned to Leeds and formed RIIB with fellow Roller Trio members Luke Reddin-Williams (drums and triggers), Luke Wynter (guitar, bass, and keyboard) and guitarist Matias Reed. Some live videos made their way online and after coming to the attention of producer Tim Bazell, the band were invited to his London based studio Heart of Gold.
RIIB’s music is eclectic, a blend of alternative, pop, indie, math with jazz influences. The pensive and reflective debut single ‘Hello Stranger’ is one of the first songs James wrote in the bedroom period. It features coiling verse melodies, a contagious chorus and powerful golden section – driven by hypnotic polyrhythms on vibraphones and marimbas, and a guest appearance from drummer Joost Hendrickx.